French aperitif, wine and spirit producer Pernod Ricard heralded an ‘excellent’ rebound in the financial year 2021 sales by announcing it would propose a EUR3.12 (USD3.78) dividend return at its annual general meeting on 10 November. The dividend would be the highest payment made since the end of full-year 2019.
The company also confirmed it will resume its share buyback scheme in full-year 2022, to purchase EUR0.5bn stock.
The French drinks maker revealed sales for the full year reached EUR8.82bn, representing organic growth of 9.7% from the previous year. Sales in the USA and China alone accounted for USD2bn and USD1bn alone. Recurring free cash flow hit EUR1.74bn, a record high.
Robust sales across regions
Sales grew across all geographical regions with the largest gains being made in the Americas. Even after a fall in travel sales due to coronavirus restrictions, growth in Canada, South America and the USA increased 14%.
In the home region of Europe, sales recovered from the tricky full year 2020, rising 4% with the biggest rebounds recorded in the UK, Germany and eastern Europe. The successes in these countries offset declining sales in Spain, Ireland and in the travel retail segment.
Asia and the rest of the world reported 11% growth, with China, Korea and Turkey being the driving force behind sales, followed by India.
Rapid rise of speciality brands
Pernod Ricard enjoyed a 28% increase in Lillet aperitifs, Aberlour whisky, Malfy gin, American whiskeys, Avion tequila and redbreast Irish whiskey. It also saw an 11% increase in sales of strategic international sales, particularly of Martell in China and Jameson in the USA.
Strategic local brands rose 7%, with Seagram’s Indian whiskeys, Kahlúa coffee liqueur, Passport Scotch and Ramazzotti liqueurs leading sales. Pernod Ricard revealed its strategic wines segment remained stable, with the growth of Campo Viejo offsetting a decline in sales of Jacob’s Creek and Kenwood bottles.
Sales growth expected to continue in 2022
Pernod-Ricard chairman and chief executive Alexandre Ricard welcomed the results, and said the prospects for 2022 were positive: “The business rebounded very strongly during FY21 to exceed FY19 levels. We expect this good sales momentum to continue in FY22 with, in particular, a very dynamic Q1.
“We will stay the strategic course, accelerating our digital transformation and our ambitious sustainability & responsibility roadmap. Thanks to our solid fundamentals, our teams and our brand portfolio, we are emerging from this crisis stronger,” he added.